There were new winners, old winners and Canadian winners at the2023 North Olympic Discovery Marathon.
Along the way, there was also pain and tears of joy as runners pushed themselves to their limits and maybe a bit beyond.
Runners had near-perfect sunny conditions with a bit of headwind in the final stretch in this year’s edition of the marathon, the 21st year of the event, held June4. The Sequim Gazette, Peninsula Daily News and Olympic Medical Center are all title sponsors.
Sunday’s races included the full marathon that began in Blyn at 7 Cedars Resort and finished at the Port Angeles City Pier, a half marathon that began at the Agnew soccer fields and the team relay marathon. On Saturday, organizers held the 5k, 10k and kids marathon.
The winner of the marathon was 33-year-old Derek Binnersley, of Victoria, B.C., running in his first marathon. He crossed the finish line in 2 hours, 48 minutes, 47.51 seconds.
“I’m pretty exhausted,” Binnersley said. “I’ve been training quite a bit for the past six months for this.”
“It was a beautiful course. Pretty flat. There was a little bit of a headwind, but other than that, it was perfect. The wind really picked up along the waterfront.”
Victoria runners dominated the marathon, taking three of the top five positions.
Michael Thelander of Portland, Ore., was second in a time of 2:54:04.85, and last year’s marathon winner, John Mauro of Port Townsend, was third at 2:54:48.19.
The winner of the women’s marathon pushed herself so hard she got sick at the finish line. Sara King of Shoreline finished in a time of 3:12:17.49, which was the seventh-fastest time among all runners and 17 minutes ahead of the second-fastest female runner.
It was just her second marathon. She had previously run the Seattle Marathon.
“It was a lot hillier than I thought. I’ve never thrown up before, after a race,” King said. “I was slower than I was in Seattle actually. It was a lot harder than I anticipated.”
Second among women was Laura Ferreira (3:29:08.55) of Victoria, B.C., and third was Emily Granger (3:29:33.08), also of Victoria.
The winner of the half marathon was a familiar name in local racing circles: Keith Laverty of Bainbridge Island.
Laverty, who has previously won the NODM full marathon and 10k, crushed the rest of the field, winning in 1:13:01 — a pace of about 5:36 minutes per mile — nearly 10 minutes ahead of second place.
He said the race conditions were great except for an “intense headwind the last two miles.” By then, he had built a huge lead over the rest of the pack.
“I ran solo wire to wire. I don’t take anything for granted when it comes to races. You never know who’s going to be in it,” Laverty said.
He added he likes coming out to the NODM because he has a partner who is from Sequim.
The half marathon winner, Heidi Roberts of Selah, was in tears at the finish line when she saw a long-lost brother waiting for her.
“It was emotional,” she said. “I hadn’t seen my brother in years. I didn’t realize he was even alive.”
Roberts had run some marathons before, but this was her first half-marathon victory.
“It’s beautiful. I love that course,” she said. “The volunteers are all awesome. I highly recommend it.”
Roberts’ goal was to run a half-marathon under 1 hour, 30 minutes, which she said she hadn’t done in a few years. She crossed the finish line in 1:29.
The winner of the team relay was a local team of college men and women, most of whom attended Port Angeles High School.
The team of IGS (“I’ve Got Speed”) won with a time of 2:56:24.02, winning by a whopping 45 minutes. They consist of Kynzie DeLeon (Warner Pacific), Langdon Larson (Port Angeles High School), Lauren Larson (Boise State), all of Port Angeles, and Campbell Faust and Sophia Hachett, both of Portland State.
Lauren Larson won the NODM women’s 10k Saturday (and was third overall) while Langdon was second in the men’s 10k.
NODM is the third in the five-event Run the Peninsula race series.
Remaining events include the Larry Scott Trail 5k/10k/half-marathon set for Saturday, Oct. 14 in Port Townsend, and the Jamestown S’Klallam 5k/10k slated for Saturday, Dec. 3, on the Jamestwon S’Klallam Tribe’s campus in Blyn.